Heritage group happy with plans despite demolition of shopping centre

Radical plans to demolish parts of Huddersfield town centre in West Yorkshire to make way for a new cultural hub have been submitted to planners by Kirklees council. 

The so-called ‘Cultural Heart’ project, developed by the local authority and consultant Turner & Townsend, would see the existing Piazza Shopping Centre razed and a large new public park and a multi-purpose, 2,200-capacity events venue. 

22054_212_Library_View Kirklees Cultural Heart

The town’s historic library will be re-purposed as a Museum of Huddersfield

The proposals also include a new art gallery, multi-storey car park and the repurposing of both the town’s historic library into a museum and of the Queensgate Market building into a food hall and new library. 

A spokesperson for the Twentieth Century Society (C20) said they were “disappointed” about plans to demolish the shopping centre, which the heritage group had put forward for listing, but that the project team had been “very responsive” regarding concerns about the library and market. 

“Where things are now, we are very happy with the solutions that have been reached on both the market and the library,” he said. “Looking at the scheme as a whole they have done an admirable job” 

C20 had opposed previous plans, put forward by the council in 2009, to demolish part of the grade II market hall, which was built in 1972 and designed by J Seymour Harris Partnership. 

More than 2.2 ha of public realm space would be added by the new proposals, which are part of Kirklees’ 10-year plan for the town centre. 

As well as leading the development of the proposals as strategic delivery partner, T&T will provide cost management, project management, health and safety, procurement and contract and BIM services on the scheme. 

The rest of the project team includes architect Feilden Clegg Bradley, landscape architect Re-Form, engineer Arup and planning specialist Pegasus Group.